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Expressions Galore

Expressive: 'Nayaka' being performed by Samarpan dancers.

“Samarpan signifies surrender, surrendering one’s own ego. Ego makes one rigid and rigid things break. Surrendering the ego makes one flexible, firm and strong. And ours is a group of strong dancers,” the organisers informed.

The evening began with a small pooja and lighting of the lamp. Usually, Bharatanatyam performances begin with a Pushpanjali and pay obeisance to the devas (Nataraja or Vinayaka), the guru and the rasikas (spectators). This show was entirely different as the artistes paid respect to the dance itself because the troupe believes that dance is their God.

The show called Nrtiyaarnav was an endless exploration of the dance. It was based on Bharatha Muni’s Natya Shastra, which is an ancient Indian treatise on the performing arts, encompassing theatre, dance and music. It was written at an uncertain date in classical India and is traditionally attributed to sage Bharatha.

The highlight of the day was the second item titled Nayaka. It was based on Krishna and his Gopikas. Krishna, who was playing along with Gopikas leaves them and each of the Gopikas start searching for him. The first one begins her search by removing all her jewellery and bedecked herself with flowers so as to not attract attention in the garden. She had, the narrator explained, a lamp in her hand and hope in her heart.

Meanwhile, another Gopika notices her, burns with jealousy and suspects that all the promises Krishna made to her, were in fact, lies. She wonders if she should end her life but decides to look for Krishna and make him repent. She too heads off in search of him.

The third Gopika, meanwhile, returns after a fight with Krishna. She had sent him away and is now missing him. She repents her actions and wants to find Krishna.  The dance shows all of them searching in vain. But instead of finding Krishna, they all bump into each other and after some talking, come to the conclusion that Krishna must be with Radha. The dance goes on to show how Krishna had indeed met Radha in the meanwhile and had left for Mathura. He had also gifted her his flute. 

The performance captured many emotions like anger, love, jealousy and hopelessness. Each dancer had a chance to exhibit his or her talent. The choreography was energetic and innovative, the troupe had great chemistry and the expressions were great.

Each formation was well co-ordinated. Their costumes enhanced their movements making it graceful. The use of the electric veena and keyboard added a unique touch to the music. There was minimal use of stage props but it was still  effective.

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